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Blau N.,University of Heidelberg | Blau N.,University of Zurich | Blau N.,Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Expert Opinion on Drug Metabolism and Toxicology | Year: 2013

Introduction: Phenylketonuria (PKU) is caused by mutation of the enzyme, phenylalanine (Phe) hydroxylase (PAH). The hyperphenylalaninemia characteristic of PKU causes devastating neurological damage if not identified and treated at birth with a Phe-restricted diet. Sapropterin dihydrochloride, a pharmaceutical formulation of the natural cofactor for PAH (6R-tetrahydrobiopterin; BH4), is now available for the management of hyperphenylalaninemia in some PKU patients, including BH4 deficiencies. Sapropterin dihydrochloride improves dietary Phe tolerance in about 20% of patients with PKU. Areas covered: This evaluation describes the identification of patients suitable for treatment of sapropterin dihydrochloride, together with its indications, therapeutic properties and efficacy. Furthermore, the article reviews its safety and tolerability in patients with PKU or BH4 deficiency. Expert opinion: A reduction in blood Phe of at least 30% occurred in ∼ 20-30% of sapropterin-treated PKU patients (mostly with milder forms of PKU). Treatment with sapropterin resulted in clinically significant and sustained reductions in blood Phe concentrations and increased dietary Phe tolerance in well-designed clinical studies in PKU patients who responded to BH4. Successful treatment with sapropterin may lead to a relaxation of the Phe-restricted diet, although continued monitoring of blood Phe is required. Sapropterin was well tolerated. © 2013 Informa UK, Ltd. Source


Moes A.D.,Erasmus Medical Center | Van Der Lubbe N.,Erasmus Medical Center | Zietse R.,Erasmus Medical Center | Loffing J.,University of Zurich | And 2 more authors.
Pflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology | Year: 2014

SLC12A3 encodes the thiazide-sensitive sodium chloride cotransporter (NCC), which is primarily expressed in the kidney, but also in intestine and bone. In the kidney, NCC is located in the apical plasma membrane of epithelial cells in the distal convoluted tubule. Although NCC reabsorbs only 5 to 10 % of filtered sodium, it is important for the fine-tuning of renal sodium excretion in response to various hormonal and non-hormonal stimuli. Several new roles for NCC in the regulation of sodium, potassium, and blood pressure have been unraveled recently. For example, the recent discoveries that NCC is activated by angiotensin II but inhibited by dietary potassium shed light on how the kidney handles sodium during hypovolemia (high angiotensin II) and hyperkalemia. The additive effect of angiotensin II and aldosterone maximizes sodium reabsorption during hypovolemia, whereas the inhibitory effect of potassium on NCC increases delivery of sodium to the potassium-secreting portion of the nephron. In addition, great steps have been made in unraveling the molecular machinery that controls NCC. This complex network consists of kinases and ubiquitinases, including WNKs, SGK1, SPAK, Nedd4-2, Cullin-3, and Kelch-like 3. The pathophysiological significance of this network is illustrated by the fact that modification of each individual protein in the network changes NCC activity and results in salt-dependent hypotension or hypertension. This review aims to summarize these new insights in an integrated manner while identifying unanswered questions. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


Blau N.,University of Zurich | Blau N.,Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology | Van Spronsen F.J.,University of Groningen | Levy H.L.,Harvard University
The Lancet | Year: 2010

Phenylketonuria is the most prevalent disorder caused by an inborn error in aminoacid metabolism. It results from mutations in the phenylalanine hydroxylase gene. Phenotypes can vary from a very mild increase in blood phenylalanine concentrations to a severe classic phenotype with pronounced hyperphenylalaninaemia, which, if untreated, results in profound and irreversible mental disability. Neonatal screening programmes identify individuals with phenylketonuria. The initiation of a phenylalanine-restricted diet very soon after birth prevents most of the neuropsychological complications. However, the diet is difficult to maintain and compliance is often poor, especially in adolescents, young adults, and pregnant women. Tetrahydrobiopterin stimulates phenylalanine hydroxylase activity in about 20 of patients, and in those patients serves as a useful adjunct to the phenylalanine-restricted diet because it increases phenylalanine tolerance and allows some dietary freedom. Possible future treatments include enzyme substitution with phenylalanine ammonia lyase, which degrades phenylalanine, and gene therapy to restore phenylalanine hydroxylase activity. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source


O'Gorman R.L.,University of Zurich | Michels L.,University of Zurich | Edden R.A.,Johns Hopkins University | Murdoch J.B.,Toshiba Corporation | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging | Year: 2011

Purpose: To evaluate the reproducibility of γ-amino-butyric acid (GABA) and glutamate concentrations derived using three different spectral fitting methods, and to investigate gender-related differences in neurotransmitter levels. Materials and Methods: Single voxel MEGA-edited PRESS MR spectra were acquired from a 30-mL voxel in the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex in 14 adult volunteers (7 female) at 3 Tesla (3T). For each participant, four consecutive resting spectra were acquired within the same scanning session. Metabolite concentrations were derived using LCModel, jMRUI, and locally written peak fitting software. The within-session reproducibility for each analysis method was calculated as the average coefficient of variation (CV) of the GABA and Glx (glutamate+glutamine) concentrations. Gender differences in GABA and Glx were evaluated using a two-tailed unpaired t-test. Results: LCModel provided the best reproducibility for both GABA (CV 7%) and Glx (CV 6%). GABA, Glx, and glutamate concentrations were significantly higher in the male participants, (P = 0.02, P = 0.001, and P < 0.001, respectively). Conclusion: GABA and glutamate can be quantified in vivo with high reproducibility (CV 6-7%) using frequency-domain spectral fitting methods like LCModel. However, the GABA and glutamate concentrations vary significantly between men and women, emphasizing the importance of gender-matching for studies investigating differences in neurotransmitter concentrations between mixed-cohort groups. Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Source


Berger W.,University of Zurich | Berger W.,Neuroscience Center Zurich | Berger W.,Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology | Kloeckener-Gruissem B.,University of Zurich | And 2 more authors.
Progress in Retinal and Eye Research | Year: 2010

During the last two to three decades, a large body of work has revealed the molecular basis of many human disorders, including retinal and vitreoretinal degenerations and dysfunctions. Although belonging to the group of orphan diseases, they affect probably more than two million people worldwide. Most excitingly, treatment of a particular form of congenital retinal degeneration is now possible. A major advantage for treatment is the unique structure and accessibility of the eye and its different components, including the vitreous and retina. Knowledge of the many different eye diseases affecting retinal structure and function (night and colour blindness, retinitis pigmentosa, cone and cone rod dystrophies, photoreceptor dysfunctions, as well as vitreoretinal traits) is critical for future therapeutic development. We have attempted to present a comprehensive picture of these disorders, including biological, clinical, genetic and molecular information. The structural organization of the review leads the reader through non-syndromic and syndromic forms of (i) rod dominated diseases, (ii) cone dominated diseases, (iii) generalized retinal degenerations and (iv) vitreoretinal disorders, caused by mutations in more than 165 genes. Clinical variability and genetic heterogeneity have an important impact on genetic testing and counselling of affected families. As phenotypes do not always correlate with the respective genotypes, it is of utmost importance that clinicians, geneticists, counsellors, diagnostic laboratories and basic researchers understand the relationships between phenotypic manifestations and specific genes, as well as mutations and pathophysiologic mechanisms. We discuss future perspectives. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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